Category : Law & Legal Issues

(NBC) Wednesday Morning Inspiration–Jarrett Adams Is Helping Others Wrongfully Convicted After Exoneration

Lester Holt interviews Jarrett Adams, who was wrongfully convicted of sexual assault when he was just 17 and — as an attorney — is now helping others who are in similar positions as he used to be.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Young Adults

(CEN) Disestablishment is now the C of E only option

Justine Greening, Equalities Minister, in her enthusiasm for transsexual rights, positively advocates the Church to change its position. Her religious illiteracy was trumped, though, by the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, who famously urged the Church to ‘get with the programme’. Cameron once compared his faith to the dodgy radio reception in the Chilterns – ‘it comes and goes’. And it was Cameron who presided over the ever-building pressure for a change in the Church’s relationship.

By interfering in the Church of England’s own decision-making with his indefensible ‘lock’ he made it impossible to defend the Church’s establishment. His breezy, braying Etonian interventions were representative of religious illiteracy that is now widespread in the Palace of Westminster.

In a matter of five years or so, conservative religious attitudes to marriage are now regarded as extremism or hate speech. The Church of England has no choice but to flee the relationship it has with the state. To stay is to risk having a relationship like the official Chinese church has with the Communist Party.

We need to beware the temptation of becoming a tame, domesticated state Church that desperately yearns for official approval and gains influence by supporting the short-term interests of politicians. The other danger is to be forced by the state to change doctrine because of the pressure to conform to new secular orthodoxies.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Church of England (CoE), Church/State Matters, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Diocese of SC Statement the recent South Carolina Supreme Court Ruling

A sharply divided court reverses portions of the lower court ruling

COLUMBIA, S.C. (August 2, 2017) – In a 77 page opinion, the South Carolina Supreme Court today reversed portions of an earlier lower court ruling. In February 2015, circuit court Judge Diane Goodstein ruled that the Diocese of South Carolina, its trustees and the 50 parishes — representing 80 percent of the members — that disassociated with the Diocese successfully withdrew from The Episcopal Church (TEC) in 2012, taking all their property, including churches, symbols and other assets. The ruling was the result of a three-week trial in 2014.

That court found that “the Constitution and Canons of TEC have no provision which states that a member diocese cannot voluntarily withdraw its membership.” This ruling found that had there been such a provision, it would have violated the diocese’s “constitutionally protected right” to freedom of association. “With the freedom to associate goes its corollary, the freedom to disassociate,” Judge Goodstein wrote.

In a complicated ruling consisting of five separate opinions, the S.C. Supreme Court today ruled that parishes which had “acceded” to the national church’s ‘Dennis canon’ are subject to a trust interest on their property by the denomination. Eight congregations that had not so acceded were judged to have full rights to retain their property.

The dissenting justices expressed concern regarding the long term implications of this decision. Former Chief Justice Jean Toal stated that the court should have relied on “over three hundred years of settled trust and property law… I believe the effect of the majority’s decision is to strip a title owner of its property…” on the basis of actions that do not create a trust interest under South Carolina law. In concurring with Justice Toal, Justice Kittredge observed of other church properties where there is affiliation with a national organization, based on this ruling, “if you think your property ownership is secure, think again.”

This current litigation became necessary when TEC attempted to wrongly remove Bishop Lawrence, and the Diocese, in response, elected to disassociate from TEC. At that time a small group of TEC loyalists who had been preparing for this attempted removal began an intentional campaign of using the Diocesan Seal and other service marks of the Diocese. They began to function as if they were the Diocese of South Carolina. To maintain its identity required that the Diocese defend that identity.

Lead counsel for the Diocese, Alan Runyan, said the lead opinion and concurring’s decision is inconsistent with South Carolina and long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent involving church property disputes. Legal counsel continues to review a lengthy and complicated ruling comprised of five separate opinions.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

AS Haley’s preliminary Read on the South Carolina Supreme Court Decision

In a divided decision, the trial court’s order is reversed as to twenty-nine parishes and affirmed as to the remaining parishes. The trial court’s intellectual property ruling is affirmed by a vote of 2-2, with one justice declining to reach the issue.

Here are the seven parishes (and one land trust) which, by a 3-2 vote, were not subject to the Dennis Canon: Christ the King, Waccamaw; St. Matthews Church, Darlington; St. Andrews Church-Mt. Pleasant Land Trust; St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Conway; The Episcopal Church of the Parish of Prince George Winyah, Georgetown; the Parish of St. Andrew, Mt. Pleasant; St. John’s Episcopal Church of Florence; and St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Summerton.

Note that the opinions are confusing as to how many “congregations” — seven or eight — managed to escape the Dennis Canon, by never acceding in their articles or bylaws to the Constitution and Canons of ECUSA. The reason is that one of the eight is not a congregation, but apparently a trust that holds title to church property.

The opinions show a bitterly divided Court that could not agree even upon the basic framework by which to decide the case (what the Court calls “the standard of review”). I put a lot of the blame for this divisiveness upon Justice Hearn, about whose blatant bias I wrote at the time of the oral argument. Her opinion concurring with Justice Pleicones might as well have been written by David Booth Beers….

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Analysis, - Anglican: Latest News, Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

South Carolina Supreme Court on Diocese of South Carolina/TEC Diocese in SC Dispute Ruling is Out

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

7 Bishops based in Melbourne writer to the Premier of Victoria about the Proposal to legalise Euthansia

Dear Premier
We, the undersigned leaders of faith communities in Victoria, commend much of the work of the recent Victorian End-of-Life Choices Inquiry, which identified the need to improve the quality and accessibility of palliative care for all Victorians.  However we strongly reject the proposal to legalise assisted suicide and euthanasia in Victoria.

Better care – not killing

Human dignity is honoured in living life, not in taking it. Even though an act of euthanasia or assisted suicide may be motivated by a sense of compassion, true compassion motivates us to remain with those who are dying, understanding and supporting them through their time of need, rather than simply acceding to a request to be killed. It is right to seek to eliminate pain, but never right to eliminate people. Euthanasia and assisted suicide represent the abandonment of those who are in greatest need of our care and support.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Phil Ashey takes an in depth dive into the recent TEC Bp Jon Bruno decision and what it tells us: Questions about the corruption of a diocese

The Hearing Panel stated unequivocally that prior review and approval of the sale of church property by the Standing Committee “is a crucial part of the fabric and polity of the Church.” (Report at 57). And yet the specific findings recited in the Hearing Panel’s Report show that the Standing Committee did little, if anything, to investigate the legal ownership of St. James, to review any legal documentation for the sale, and to refer to its own minutes in doing so. If they had, they presumably would have discovered that the only properties transferred to Corp Sole were back in 2009, and did not include St. James. They would have discovered that a purported May 2014 quitclaim deed by the Diocese to Corp Sole was without any review by the Standing Committee. If they had followed Bishop Glasspool’s advice and consulted with another diocesan chancellor, they might have intervened and halted the sale. Nevertheless, they did not

These detailed findings in the Hearing Panel’s Report are troubling in the extreme, to say the least. Viewed as a whole, the findings strongly suggest that corruption and greed were systemic. They were not limited to Bishop Bruno himself. Key staff and leaders at the highest levels appear from the Report to have been complicit. The Standing Committee appears to have failed to properly review, let alone check, these problematic actions. Both laity and clergy close to the bishop were apparently involved.

How could the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles end up with so many people in positions of leadership who had lost their moral compass?

If the statement of the Diocesan spokesman and its webpage are any signs, the absence of conviction, humility and repentance is not promising.

Read it all.

Posted in Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Law & Legal Issues, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

(60 Minutes) A young American who grew up in the heartland tells Scott Pelley what made him try to join ISIS in Syria

Abdirizak Warsame learned the theology of murder in Minneapolis, Minnesota…

Scott Pelley: YouTube became more real to you than your neighborhood in Minnesota?

Abdirizak Warsame: Yes.

Scott Pelley: How could that be?

Abdirizak Warsame: It kind of takes control of you. And you think you’re doing something for a greater cause. And you think you’re doing it for good.

Scott Pelley: And what was that?

Abdirizak Warsame: Most of the videos would talk about how if you would engage in jihad you would be doing your family a favor. And that you would be saving their lives from eternal hell fire.

Scott Pelley:That if you died as a martyr you would not only go to paradise your whole family would go with you?

Abdirizak Warsame: Whole family would go to paradise.

Read (or better watch) it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Anthropology, Blogging & the Internet, Eschatology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Syria, Violence

(Patheos) Roger Olsen–Is There Any Solution to the Transgender Controversy?

Apparently, some self-identified transgender people want to use restrooms and locker rooms designated for the sex that they are not yet physiologically. In other words, they have not yet undergone, and perhaps do not plan ever to undergo, sex change surgery. So, to be very specific, a person with “male parts” who identifies as female wants to use the locker room designated for females….

…I do suspect the source of controversy is the idea of a person with “male parts” using a locker room designated for girls and women. (I suspect few men really care about females using restrooms or locker rooms designated for boys and men.) To be very specific: I suspect many men and women care about anyone with “male parts” using the same restroom or locker room as their daughters and granddaughters.

So let us please look at the controversy through that lens in order to clarify it.

I propose that we distinguish between gender and sex in this controversy and insist that a person use the locker room (restrooms are really less a problem because women’s have stalls) designated for the sex he or she still is—until he or she has completed sex change hormonally and surgically. Otherwise, the specter (realistic or not) of sexually male persons claiming to be women walking around naked (locker rooms have showers) in women’s locker rooms is unavoidable.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Tablet) The Australian R Catholic Church opposes Victoria euthanasia legislation

Archbishop Hart commended efforts to strengthen and better resource Palliative Care but said that was a minimum necessity.

“While the report recommends what it calls safeguards, the truth is that these safeguards are never going to be enough and that there are no flawless medical procedures,” he said. “All procedures and interventions can have complications. I have watched supporters of this proposal and they are going out of their way to convince us that assisted suicide is acceptable, seeking to lessen our human, moral and natural distress because of suicide.

“It seems that on the one hand we are seeking to lessen suicide in our society – an admirable aim – but here we have this report looking to normalise it. When viewed from the perspective of the whole Victorian community these two objectives cannot be reconciled.”

The archbishop said the legislation would impose extraordinary and unreasonable responsibilities on medical professionals, who would be called upon to determine which patients were eligible and how the safeguards were to be applied. This then became a matter for decisions by medical practitioners and not the patients for whom they were required to care.

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology

(AM) Response to the Archbishops’ statement on the Decriminalisation of Homosexual Acts

We welcome the Archbishops’ reminder that the Church of England supported ending the criminalisation of homosexual behaviour among consenting adults, which is no more appropriate than criminalising adultery. We are also glad that they speak of homosexual people who want to follow Christ and are drawn by his love.

However, in calling people to him, Jesus speaks of his yoke and burden not ours. He refers to the yoke or challenge of living the kind of spiritual and moral life he expects. He promises that if we follow him he shares the burden and challenge to enable us to overcome those aspects of our lives that still need to conform to his pattern and teaching. He does not comfort and console us by accepting what is unacceptable to him.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology: Scripture

Head of Jamaica Anglican church calls for the decriminalising of same sex relations

Gregory said Christians should be cautioned against believing in the view that they must be the gatekeepers of the law against buggery in order to prevent the legalisation of same-sex marriage.

“This submission does not accept the cause and effect relationship which is being introduced into this matter, neither is it advocating homosexual marriages,” he said….

Section 61 of the Offences against the Person Act of 1864 criminalises the ‘abominable’ anal sex – consensual or otherwise. The maximum punishment is 10 years’ imprisonment.

But Gregory argued: “Sexual activity engaged in public spaces is illegal and should continue to be so, whether of an heterosexual or homosexual nature.”

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, Ethics / Moral Theology, Jamaica, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture

Joint Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York

A statement on the 50th Anniversary of the Act of Parliament passed in 1967 which decriminalised homosexual acts in our Country

Today is the 50th Anniversary of the Act of Parliament passed in 1967 which decriminalised homosexual acts in our Country. The Church of England, led by Archbishop Ramsey, was supportive of the Sexual Offences Act.

In January 2016 the majority of the leading Archbishops of the whole global Anglican Communion – almost 80 million people in 165 countries – confirmed the longstanding view of the Communion that diminishing and criminalising homosexual people is wrong.

The Church, not just the Church of England, but all those who follow Jesus Christ and whose lives are committed to his worship and service, has very often been defined by what it is against. It has condemned many things, and continues to do so, very often correctly, for example when they involve the abuse of the poor, or the weak, or the marginalised.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Anthropology, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Church of England (CoE), History, Law & Legal Issues, Pastoral Theology, Sexuality, Theology

(NBC) Buffalo’s Opioid Court Hopes to Show New Path in Addiction Fight

Watch the whole encouraging piece.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Drugs/Drug Addiction, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues

(Law+ Religion UK) Frank Cranmer–Law and religion round-up – 23rd July

Sexual orientation and “British Values”

An Orthodox Jewish school in Hackney has failed its third Ofsted inspection because it did not teach its pupils about sexual orientation. The inspectors reported that the pupils at Vishnitz Girls School, who range in age from three to eight,

“are not taught explicitly about issues such as sexual orientation. This restricts pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and does not promote equality of opportunity in ways that take account of differing lifestyles. As a result, pupils are not able to gain a full understanding of fundamental British values.”

Furthermore:

“The school’s approach means that pupils are shielded from learning about certain differences between people, such as sexual orientation. The school’s culture is, however, clearly focused on teaching pupils to respect everybody, regardless of beliefs and lifestyle. Leaders and proprietors recognise the requirement to teach about the protected characteristics as set out in the Equality Act 2010. However, they acknowledge that they do not teach pupils about all the protected characteristics, particularly those relating to gender reassignment and sexual orientation. This means that pupils have a limited understanding of the different lifestyles and partnerships that individuals may choose in present-day society.”

Unsurprisingly, opinions in the media are divided.

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Education, England / UK, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture